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A Drop of Sunshine #8
April 2023: The Art of Beginning, Failing, Trying
Hello Dear Ones,
April is here and with it comes gorgeous spring sunshine walks and renewed creative energy. I’ve finished hand-writing the first draft of my MG fantasy, affectionately called MOMB (which stands for Mermaids, Old Man, Bull).
I always handwrite my first draft: I’m bravest away from the blinking cursor and the squiggly red-underline editor, and the backspace button. My pen flies, trying to keep pace with my imagination, as I scratch out, begin anew, freeing myself to try bold ideas and let the story discover itself as we go.
April is here and with it comes many spring birthdays, including my own. Happy birthday to all my April buds! As I embark on another year, I’m grateful for allowing myself to be a beginner.
When we’re children, everything is a fresh adventure. Each experience is greater than the last because it is new and full of promise. As we become adults, we can slip into the twin lies of control and safety: social, physical, financial, emotional. We avoid risks. We avoid looking like fools (which rarely means what we think it does… foolish behavior is an offense looking foolish in the eyes of others is subjective.) Looking foolish does not include failing at a new hobby or dancing like you’re alone.
A few years ago, I gave myself permission to be an adult beginner, and I wrote out some things I’d like to try: watercolor, learning a new language, knitting, rock climbing, sailing, piano, and more.
I now enjoy water-coloring cute gnomes and Christmas trees every Christmas with my mom and sister. Yesterday, I finished knitting a matching hat and scarf (just in time for summer! Ha! Beginner-slow-fun-progress there). I’m learning to read music and plucking out chords on a borrowed piano. The sailing must wait for now as I live in the desert… but you get the idea…
Of course knitting has frustrated me, just like learning to skip frustrated me as a child. Frustration is not nearly as detrimental as we fear. Knitting has also elated me with each little stitch of success, just like when I nailed those first few skip steps (thanks to my dad’s clever teaching trick: imagine you are a cantering horse, swapping leads, left-right, left-right….non-horse people, watch Charlotte and Valegro and become a horse-person… one-tempi lead changes (AKA equine skipping) are found at minute 4:21).
We’re never too old to learn new things, nor to reap the joy from them. Allow yourself mess ups and setbacks. Failing means you’re trying and trying means you’re growing and growing means you’re living.
So, as we all continue to age, let us also continue to live.
Until next time, I hope you enjoy this drop of sunshine.
Quote to Ponder:
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
- J.K. Rowling
What to Bake
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - This chewy, delicious recipe is a classic because it’s highly-adjustable nature suits many tastes. Add chocolate chips. Omit the raisins. Add chopped walnuts or pecans. Omit the spices and let the butter/brown sugar flavor take center-stage. Tip: Presoak the raisins in hot water for 15 minutes before stirring into the dough. This rehydrates them so that they don’t pull moisture from the dough itself.
What to Listen To
The Machine Stops - E.M. Forster - We played this audiobook while putting together a jigsaw puzzle on our Sabbath, and we continually paused it to gape at each other, discuss, exclaim, and marvel. Published in 1909, this sci-fi novella left me awestruck, disturbed, challenged, and invigorated to take a walk outside.
From video-chat, to telehealth, to 2-day delivery, E.M. Forster foretold it all… and his implied consequences about attention spans, social anxiety, connection, isolation, impatience, and entitlement struck me as shockingly apt.
Listen if you dare… *dun dun dun*
What to Read*
Other Birds: One of my dear friends recommended this book, and I loved it. It was mysterious, funny, and tender. It dealt with hard issues, always with hope. It felt like a warm hug and I’m eager to read more by Sarah Addison Allen.
On Turning Ten: Poem by Billy Collins. He is a National Treasure and this poem is a new favorite of mine.
Question to Ponder:
Is there a hobby you’d like to try? What is stopping you from embracing the ups and downs of being a beginner?
Until next time, wishing you sunshiny trails…
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